Dispelling the Myth
Dynamic Hospice and Palliative Care will dispel the myth that receiving hospice care equates to “giving up” on life. Instead, our team will prove that hospice care affirms life and promotes emotional and spiritual support for the terminally ill and their families.
Hospice Myths and Realities
Myth: Hospice is a place.
Reality: Most hospice care usually takes place in the comfort of the home, but can be provided in any environment in which a person lives, including a nursing home, assisted living facility, or residential care facility.
Myth: All hospice programs are the same.
Reality: All licensed hospice programs must provide certain services, but the range of support services varies. Operating styles and programs may differ from state to state depending on state laws and regulations. Like other medical care providers, business models differ. Some programs are not-for-profit and some hospices are for-profit.
Myth: Hospice means that the patient is dying.
Reality: Receiving hospice care does not mean giving up or that death is looming. The earlier an individual receives hospice care, the better the chance to stabilize a patient’s medical condition and address other needs.
Myth: Hospice is only for cancer patients.
Reality: A large number of hospice patients have congestive heart failure, Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, COPD, or other conditions.
Myth: Patients can only receive hospice care for a short time.
Reality: The Medicare benefit, and most private insurance, pays for hospice care as long as the patient continues to meets the necessary criteria. Patients may be discharged from hospice care, and re-enroll in hospice care, as needed.
Myth: Hospice provides 24-hour care.
Reality: The hospice team (which includes nurses, social workers, home health aides, volunteers, chaplains, and bereavement counselors) visits patients intermittently, and is available 24 hours a day/7 days a week for support and care.
Myth: Hospice is just for the patient.
Reality: Hospice focuses on the family members and caregivers, as well as the patient.
Myth: A patient needs Medicare or Medicaid to afford hospice services.
Reality: Medicare coverage is available through Medicare for those over the age of 65 and in 44 states and the District of Columbia under Medicaid, most private insurance plans, HMOs, and other managed care organizations include hospice care as a benefit.
Myth: A physician decides whether a patient should receive hospice care and which agency should provide that care.
Reality: The role of the physician is to recommend care. It is the patient’s right (or in some cases the right of the person who holds power of attorney) and decision to determine when hospice is appropriate and which program suits his or her needs. A physician must certify that a patient has been diagnosed with a terminal illness and has a life expectancy of six months or less Before entering a hospice.
Myth: After six months, patients are no longer eligible to receive hospice care through Medicare and other insurances.
Reality: According to Medicare hospice guidelines, services may be provided to terminally ill Medicare beneficiaries with a life expectancy of six months or less. However, if the patient lives beyond the initial six months, he or she can continue receiving hospice care as long as the attending physician recertifies that the patient is terminally ill. Medicare, Medicaid, and many other private and commercial insurances will continue to cover hospice services as long as the patient meets hospice criteria of having a terminal prognosis and is recertified with a limited life expectancy of six months or less.
Myth: Once a patient elects hospice, he or she can no longer receive care from the primary care physician.
Reality: Hospices work closely with the primary physician and consider the continuation of the patient-physician relationship to be of the highest priority.
Myth: Once a patient elects hospice care, he or she cannot return to traditional medical treatment.
Reality: Patients always have the right to reinstate traditional care at any time, for any reason. If a patient’s condition improves or the disease goes into remission, he or she can be discharged from a hospice and return to aggressive, curative measures.
Myth: Hospice means giving up hope.
Reality: Hospice care provides patients an opportunity to hope for a quality of life that is not always limited. It helps them understand that even though death can lead to sadness, anger, and pain, it can also lead to opportunities for reminiscence, laughter, and reunion.